Framingham, Mass. – Junior receiver Stephen Beahn (Spencer, Mass.) made six catches for a school record 248 yards and three touchdowns as the Framingham State University football team held off Endicott College 32-21 in the season opener for both schools this afternoon at Framingham's Bowditch Field.
With the win, the Rams are 1-0 on the young season and have defeated the Gulls (0-1) to open the last four seasons.
Beahn, who played linebacker last year for the Rams, averaged 41.3 yards per catch in the game in route to his single game FSU record of 248 yards receiving. Beahn surpassed the old mark of 219 yards which was set by FSU Hall of Famer Rod Patten during the 1992 season. Beahn found the end zone on catches of 87, 81 and 36 yards from junior quarterback Zak Walker (Ayer, Mass.), while also rushing for 26 yards on four attempts.
Walker completed 22-of-29 passes with four touchdowns and a pick in his first start for the Rams. Senior Jalen Green (Brockton, Mass.) paced the Rams ground attack with 111 yards rushing on 19 carries including a 26 yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory.
Sophomore Michael Scherer (Middlefield, Conn.) paced the Gulls offense completing 13-of-21 passes for 176 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. Junior Sam Ouellette (Rochester, NH) also saw time under center completing 10-of-24 for 71 yards with a pick. Thomas Connors (Amesbury, Mass.) was the Gulls leading receiver with 99 yards on five catches.
Endicott's offense was rolling early as they took the opening kickoff down the field, but failed to score when they missed a 39 yard field goal attempt. The two teams traded punts before Walker connected with Beahn for an 87 yard catch and run with 1:25 left in the first to put the Rams in the lead for good.
The score remained 7-0 until Walker connected with junior Mike Calicchio (Chelmsford, Mass.) for his second TD pass of the day - this one from 11 yards out. After the extra point was blocked, the Rams took a 13-0 lead into the half.
The Rams defense did their part in the first half coming up with a pair of interceptions from junior Kenneth Bartolo (Malden, Mass.) and classmate Jaquan Harris (Boston, Mass.). Harris' interception halted a Gull drive in the closing minute of the frame.
Endicott cut into the Rams lead late in the third on a one yard scoring run from Scherer. Scherer opened the drive with back-to-back completions for 13 yards to Robert Williams and 65 yards to Connors setting up a first and goal from the 2. Bartolo ran down Connors on the two to prevent him from reaching the end zone. The Rams defense came up with a pair of stops before Scherer found the end zone to pull within six (13-7).
The Rams answered on their first play from scrimmage on the following drive as Walker hit Beahn for an 81 yard score pushing the lead to 20-7.
Endicott opened the fourth quarter with a nine yard scoring pass from Scherer to Ricardo Matos, but Walker and Beahn connected once again on the Rams following drive to extend the lead to 12 points.
A long return by Zach DeNike (Old Tappan, NJ) on the kickoff set up the final touchdown of the day for the Gulls – a 21 yard pass from Scherer to Conor Crotty with 9:55 left in the game. Green closed the scoring on the day for the Rams with a 26 yard run with 5:20 remaining.
The Rams accumulated 479 yards of total offense in the game, including 325 yards passing, to 349 Gulls.
The Rams defense was led by eight tackles, seven solo, one for a loss and an interception and pass breakup by Bartolo, while senior Aaron Owens (Springfield, Mass.) also recoded eight tackles in the game.
The Rams are back in action next Saturday when they travel to Cortland State for a 12 p.m. non-conference match-up, while the Gulls entertain Hobart next Saturday at 12 p.m.